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|Index||14 reviews in total|
There have been many vapid, watery attempts at an appealing comedy show
in the past, and I'll sure there will be plenty more to come in the
Luckily, this particular show is among the good batch. The humor is very consistent, and there's never a dramatic moment without a comical follow-up to compensate. It says to you 'Hm, even though it's obligatory that we must have these touching moments of overwrought sentiment, we can make up for that by immediately trailing this with an insanely witty bit, most likely to be delivered by the neurotic husband.'
It's clever, it's witty, and it possesses an pleasantly engaging title that screams for folks to give the name a double-glance, frown iffy-ly, say "Why, what is this 'Underbelly' you speak of?" and eventually (hopefully) succumb to their meddling curiosity and watch this show.
I think this is a hilarious, honest, and funny show. No, it's not exactly highbrow, but c'mon...it's television! This reminds me of the BBC show "Coupling." I was also thinking that I like that these people look pretty "normal." The women aren't emaciated, the guys are cute but not in a cookie-cutter Hollywood way. I also like that they address the common myths, problems, ideas, situations and fears of new parents. I also find a lot of this pretty easy to relate to - I have the friend who is the crazy new mom (Julie) and the friend who is scared but excited about being pregnant (Lauren), and the cynical friend who will never have kids (Cooper). I'm not a laugh-out-loud at the TV kind of person, but I do find myself laughing out loud a lot at this show.
With already cramped, busy lives, it is a lovely change of pace to have
a 30- minute stress reliever such as Notes From the Underbelly. The
characters are easy to relate to, the scenes are often realistic, and
the show brings a sense of humorous comfort to those preparing for
parenthood. While addressing many common pregnancy truths and
fallacies, Underbelly is laugh out loud funny- like Scrubs without the
medical scene. Lauren, the main character, brings the humor of watching
Jessica Simpson's absentmindedness in a more realistic and "pregnancy
brain" related way. Cooper brings the romantic scandal of Desperate
Housewives without the "above-and-beyond-reality" drama. Julie brings
the innocence of Pheobe from Friends, but adds a kick of attitude to
it. Andrew, Lauren's husband, acts like Will Turner in the first
Pirates of the Caribbean movie, taking care of Lauren throughout her
pregnancy while being thankful that he was lucky enough to have someone
as beautiful as her love him.
Underbelly deserves to live and laugh for a few more seasons.
Network: ABC; Genre: Sitcom; Content Rating: TVPG (some sexual
content); Perspective: Contemporary (star range: 1 4);
Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (2 seasons)
Based on Risa Green's novel, "Notes form the Underbelly" is a wacky screwball sitcom about the wacky state of pregnancy. Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt, Kissing Jessica Stein) has just become the mom to be and while starting to adjust to the changes in her body, she and her husband Andrew (Peter Cambor) start to worry about the changes in their lifestyle. Their friends divide into two camps. On one end we have the overzealous pro-baby zombies in the form of Melanie Moore and Sunkrish Bala, new parents themselves. On the other end we have self-indulgent sex-hounds friends Rachael Harris and Michael Weaver who relish the single life.
I just realize that that summary might mistakenly give the impression that "Notes" is about pregnancy in any depth. It really isn't. There is no satire or commentary on baby peer pressure, body image issues, financial strains, babysitters, baby apparel or anything else baby related. The subject is a frame, inside which the show fills with generic lame one-liners, cartoonish slapstick and broadly drawn characters.
My simmering crush on Jennifer Westfeldt only informs about 10% of this review, as that cheery-eye, sweet-faced actress who stole the early days of "Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place" for me and made the word marinate seem new in "Kissing Jessica Stein" has been now run through the Hollywood sitcom leading lady machine, where her job is to stand around, look pretty and spout the one-liners and lame innuendos produced by Scriptbot 5000 . She's not quite the nagging sitcom wife here, but there's something lifeless and cliché neurotic about Lauren. And I sat through "Holding the Baby" for this woman.
Andrew is the type of goofball husband that would only be married to Lauren in a sitcom. With no chemistry between the couple it's a paper thin phony dynamic. But the supporting cast is where the obnoxious meter goes into the red zone. Weaver as loafing brother Danny is asking for a punch in the face and Moore is over-the-top cutesy in the gag-inducing sweetheart role. This show really, really wants to hit your cute receptors.
The only person here who comes out, not only unscathed, but for the better is Rachael Harris. Hell, the show successfully turns Harris even while sporting black librarian glasses - into a wholly convincing sex-pot in a way I couldn't have imagined before. Cooper is set up like the go-to wild card character for edgy laughs and great lines, the Samantha Jones if you will, if only the show could deliver some worthy material for Harris' acerbic comic timing to zip through.
One would think that a show about only one thing might be able to comically explore that subject with some depth, as "Sex and the City" explored dating and sex with wit and intelligence. "Notes" is a show only a mother could love. If you truly want an insightful and hilarious look at pregnancy in an all around great show, go for the final season of BBC's "Coupling".
* / 4
I love this show. I look forward to watching it every week because it is funny and witty. As someone who is just starting on the process, this show really gets the couple dynamics. I love seeing something on the show and saying, oh, that is exactly what just happened. The comedy is classic, Gilmore Girl- esquire in nature. The main characters are very relatable, and I know I have friends like the friends in the show. I haven't seen a show that has this exact focus on the pregnancy, but that's just me. It isn't the kind of show that a Critic would like, but then again I watch TV to relax and unwind rather than treat it like an art form.
Please add a minus rating scale for this show because the current ratings system does not come close to indicating the level of the utter awfulness this show attains. To quote Edward Norton's character in Fight Club it feels like a "copy of a copy of a copy of a copy" and so on. The characters are parrots reciting poorly written jokes with seemingly no idea what they are actually saying. Tectonic plates have better comic timing and the blonde chick with glasses has played at least 3 separate manifestations of the same character all with increasing levels of failure. The creators/writers of this show should be brought in front of The Hague and tried for crimes against the art of storytelling. Their sentence: cancellation, oh wait that will probably happen anyway. Their sentence: banishment to writing for reality television.
There are very few comedies out there right now (I don't count "30 Rock" or "The Office" as comedies because they're...uh...not funny!) but this is a hidden gem. As more and more networks move away from the scripted comedy shows, it is nice to find one that actually makes me laugh out loud. Like most good comedies, it takes a situation that a lot of people can relate to (pregnancy) and makes fun of it in ways that hit the nail on the head and make me remember a lot of similar situations during the times when *my* wife was pregnant. A must for anyone who's ever been pregnant or is ever going to be, and who likes to laugh. I give this show an A+++.
as new parents (we have a 4 year old and an 8 month old) and friends of
a couple who JUST got pregnant, there are definitely a lot of moments
that resonate with us ... my wife probably enjoys this a bit more than
i can't help but finding myself comparing this to a "grown up" version of Friends (of which i was not a big fan) - maybe it is the three couple format (only two official, i know - if this thing plays out long enough, Cooper and the scruffy guy will hook up, count on it!) The main gal reminds me of Rachel, the very pregnant one Monica (think high school, fatsuit Monica) the scruffy guy is like Joey, and the main guy is Ross-like. Even the lawyer gal has Phoebe elements ...
anyway, there are some funny moments, a lot of annoying ones ... we'll probably tune in as long as it's on, but won't cry if it gets canceled.
This bland, forced and unfunny show is pretty much unwatchable. Rachael Harris is a particular pain with her smug, stilted one liners that aren't witty nor sound like anything anyone would ever say in a million years. Where do I begin? This is white noise, blank air and static. God, how I hate the promos with that annoying music. The creator of this show is an idiot and incapable of writing anything even resembling humor. Worst of all is the smugness of the entire enterprise, as if it's somehow special or entertaining or cutting edge. This show has already been forgotten while it's on. It's further proof that ABC's Steve McPherson is clueless as far as comedy,as if CAVEMEN weren't already enough proof of that.
The trials of parenthood are familiar grounds for comedy and ABC's Notes From The Underbelly, which follows an expecting couple, tries to tread the same territory, but the only thing remarkable about Notes is how miserably it fails at it. There's no sign of originality to Notes as it wrings its premise dry of any laughs with bland jokes about pregnancy and motherhood repeated endlessly. Notes expects the humor to come from its theme of 'adventures from parenthood', but as it pushes that point with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, the jokes are too obvious to be funny. To its credit, it's not totally unbearable but it's hard to think of a reason to tune in when there's so many better ways to spend your time.
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